At a large Chinese-built warehouse on the edge of Semera, the capital of Ethiopia’s Afar region, a group of women collect brooms as they start their early morning shift. They are here to clean the desert dust that is gathering on the tens of thousands of sacks of wheat, pulses and other humanitarian aid supplies that are stored inside.
Some of the supplies are for the Afar region, where recent fighting in the 17 month-long civil war has displaced up to 300,000 people, while most of it is for the embattled Tigray region, a few hundred miles to the north-west. The UN says 4.6 million people there do not have enough food as a result of what it has called a “de facto blockade”.
Tigray has effectively been cut off from the rest of Ethiopia since the TPLF rebel group retook most of it from federal forces in June. Humanitarians have warned of famine and they say 100 trucks of food need to enter the region every day to feed its population, but none has entered there since 14 December.
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